Re: COVID Cleanups/Sweeps

Tim McCormick

I am reposting a message below by Jeff Liddicoat (Stop the Sweeps PDX, etc) that was on thread earlier in the month but got caught in moderation review on the listserv because the topic was paused for cool-off. 

I would like to also uplift these issues raised and the topic, and emphasize that for many to most unsheltered people and advocates, these are at the top of all concerns: living areas being 'cleaned' or 'cleared', being displaced with nowhere to go, and losing important possessions and community contacts. 

While fully resolving these crucial points is a big project, I think recent conversations here and with officials have foregrounded that there might be some quite helpful smaller steps forward we could make together soon, in reviewing, improving, and educating around the City's clean/clear notices and policies. I am now fairly sure that the City's current "Posted" notices do not include text they are legally required to under the "Andersen settlement", so ought to be updated anyway, so this we could see as a helpful prompt to improve and better explain them also. 


I hope that a review of Trena Sutton’s bit here will [be considered in the] stark reality of what has happened in the area she told us all wasn’t targeted for removal. See things have been removed. That’s the bottom line.

People who had sheltered together for many months have been moved along by the earlier posting. Anyone who is anything but a tourist knows that all postings are just for cleaning right up until they aren’t.  It’s kind of complex so people whose minds are occupied with what slobs the homeless are may not get it But here goes...

     First of all the old cleanup poster never said you would be cleaned it always only said you may be cleaned within 7 days. Everyone knows though that once they start writing and posting about cleaning what comes next is you get cleaned out. And I’d need a stronger word than  naive to describe anyone who thinks keeping your space clean is going to keep you safe from being swept. ...[it's not clear that there is] some big difference between the standard sweep notice and the ones recently posted in St. John’s it was inevitable that most people living the experience would feel compelled to move. Understand that when they start posting they may or may not sweep in that 7 day window and there is a risk of not seeing or hearing about subsequent notices. These fine distinctions that factor into how the homeless decide to react to postings [..].

And some just don’t get it the downside to a wrong choice is huge - you may be left with nothing - no shelter from the rain, no protection from the cold, no phone to stay in touch, no cart to carry on towards the next place you cannot be. When that happens enough times you begin to have less concern for how your place looks, you start to carry less and less with you - including fewer cleaning supplies garbage bags, brooms, work gloves, buckets. And why should you it doesn’t really matter how grand your place looks you’ll still be swept cleaned out set adrift again.

Besides which their cover story for all the harassment is that they will make it all clean. They will undo the eye sore of homeless slobs. You know what? Most of the garbage you see associated with the homeless isn’t even their garbage. Instead it’s items thrown out by the housed then temporarily diverted from the waste stream by poor folks trying to put it all to some use. The trash at a particular camp or even of all campers is minuscule compared to the planet threatening trash producing activities of the housed class. [...]’s an endless list. The trash of the homeless give a few people something to talk about. Meanwhile those very same people are responsible for trashing the planet. The comparative carbon footprints aren’t even close. We all owe the homeless a debt of gratitude for how little waste they produce. [..]

Related is this: There seems to be just a general attitude that the homeless with their tarps and pallets and bike parts are an eyesore a drag on the visual quality and house values in a given neighborhood. What I don’t get is what is so [aesthetically] appealing about all the cars, the tar roads, the [creosote] soaked telephone poles or all the power lines strung here there and everywhere. Compared to the homeless that whole scene is a visual nightmare. Whatever my feelings about the world of the housed I don’t dial 911 to complain about. The citizens who file complaints about the homeless need more self reflection and to dial back the complaining and name calling.

Sorry about the typos but if you wrote such long pieces you probably wouldn’t want to proofread either. I promise to make these more concise.
[-Jeff Liddicoat]

On Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 8:37 PM Verna Dunlap <lct4vets@...> wrote:
Spot on 

On Jul 27, 2020, at 3:08 PM, Trena Sutton <thegirlsok@...> wrote:

Tim,  couldn’t agree more and I have tried to get them to be more specific. The city does not listen to me or to most people but who criticize them in anyway.  The problem is with these in accurate postings by the city and others that others get hurt in the fallout.  I find people take sides and do not want to hear another opinion even when it’s based on fact. 


On Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 2:41 PM Tim McCormick <tmccormick@...> wrote:

the cleanup notice Sarah shared is, I think, ambiguous about what action may occur and when. Perhaps we can help by documenting, explaining, and asking for improvement of the notices, and of scheduling procedures - see #3 below. Perhaps this has been proposed, or if not is a good specific area in which to ask for a goodwill response from the City and HUCIRP (Homelessness / Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program, the Manager of which is Lucas Hillier Lucas.hillier@..., Bcc-ed here to invite any reply/clarifications from him). 

1. I am hearing of a "green notice" which may differ than this one posted with white paper. I can't find the picture I had of this, does anyone have more info on this or picture of other cleanup etc notices? 

2. The notice warns sites "will be posted for personal property removal" - not, per se, removal of people (i.e. 'eviction'), closing off area, or prohibiting a future campsite. However, as far as I understand, or can see in HUCIRP's official procedures as described in documents at their site which I've just reviewed, there is only a single defined activity, "cleanup", also described as campsite removal, or sometimes 'clearing' a campsite. See program workflow diagram:

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 1.10.05 PM.png

In a June 26, 2020 memo from Lucas Hillier, ( describing the planned resumption of cleaning and clearing campsites, he states: 

"HUCIRP has developed a plan for a limited resumption of posting, cleaning, and personal property removal to address situations where the public health and safety risks associated with individuals moving some distance from their current location. " "After 24 hours [from posting], if the campsite still violates the above thresholds, the campsite will be posted to be cleaned and cleared."  [bold added].

The memo implies that action will require "individuals moving some distance from their current location," but as far as I can tell, from the letter of the law, the campsite cleanup process as constrained by the Andersen agreement concerns strictly 'campsites' and property, where campsite is defined as:

"A location where, for the purpose of maintaining or establishing a temporary place to live, any of the following is placed: any bedding, sleeping bag, or other sleeping matter; any stove or fire; and/or any structure such as a hut, lean-to, tent, or other temporary structure such as carts and/or personal property."

A person isn't a location, sleeping matter, a structure, or personal property, so it isn't clear that 'cleanup' procedure therefore does, or could, include actions taken against persons. By that interpretation, it seems campers and a campsite and perhaps a crew of friendly passers-by could, theoretically, just move their materials aside/offsite when a cleanup is conducted, and move them back afterwards. Is there any enforceable definition of how long a 'cleanup' takes, or how far away is not part of the 'campsite'? Seems kind of sensible, like moving furniture aside when vacuuming. In some places as I've seen in Bay Area, dwellings and camp fixtures are put on castors or wheels precisely to deal with this and with regular street cleaning. Can anyone suggest problems with such an approach? 

3.  It appears that the notice Sarah shared is not quite compliant with the Andersen vs City of Portland legal settlement ( governing campsite cleanups. According to that, the notice must include the words: 

“This campsite will be cleared no less than 24 hours after

and within seven (7) days of [the date and time the site is posted for

cleanup]. Cleanup may take place at anytime within the seven-day period”

Could seem a small point, but points to something bigger: is a seven-day window, or perhaps longer if there's nothing noting that 7-day limit, entirely necessary or appropriate, for a service call that apparently will take away one's home and any possessions you can't carry away in under an hour? I mean, even so despised a tyrant as Comcast Infinity might give you a day or a 4-hour window for taking a look at your cable box; might we hope for the City & Rapid Response Bio-Hazard to do something like that regarding removal of homes? I know scheduling service calls is tricky, work isn't quite predictable, but consider the difficulties of, having no place else to go and being destitute, waiting a week in readiness to disband home and move all possessions in an hour. How about, say, giving a day, and calling an hour ahead of time, then you'd have two hours? 

Tim McCormick
Editor at HousingWiki, Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

On Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 1:13 PM Barb Rainish <whatisright88@...> wrote:

Hi Folks,

If you haven't checked out the city's site for HUCIRP, please do.

Reading news is great, but sometimes it's better to go closer to the source.

Is HUCIRP accurate? That's my first question.

My apologies for not making it up to St John's to help. I hope it went well.


My question 

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